Thursday, June 22, 2006

A conspiracy theory

Even before I read James Surowiecki's account of how corrupt FIFA is in this week's New Yorker, just from watching some of the referees I have started to come up with the not too farfetched possibility that maybe some referees may be rigging the game in favor of certain teams. I have no evidence to support this except what goes on in my very busy mind. But, for mysterious reasons, the referees in the 2 last US Team games were clearly trying to hurt the Americans. Their calls were blatantly mistaken, and today, a call for a nonexistent penalty vs the US took away the chance for the team to go to the next round. What have the US done to merit such transparent unfairness is anybody's guess.
By the way, this is not to be read as some kind of excuse for losing teams. I'm speaking of incontrovertible hideous calls that seem like pure evil. And the US is not the only victim.
Today, for instance, I learned that the next cup will take place in South Africa, so my Holmesian powers of deduction lead me to believe that perhaps African teams like Ghana, may be getting a hand from FIFA, so they can create excitement for the next venue. Because another thing that always happens is that the host country team, no matter how mediocre, always ends up making it closer to the finals, or even winning the cup. I can't believe that's purely because of home turf enthusiasm.
The referee who called one of the German games tried, in my view, to influence the game in favor of the Germans. They don't need any help, those Panzers, but maybe someone lends them a little invisible hand to make it easier to win in their home turf.
Now, I know you are thinking I'm nuts, but my capacity for cynicism is boundless. As boundless as the FIFA and the Olympic Committee leaders' capacity for graft. All I'm saying is that FIFA would like certain things to happen in certain ways. Not necessarily to give the cup to a particular team, but for certain teams to make it to the next rounds, and face each other, etc. Perhaps it's in the interest of FIFA that a team of million-dollar earning stars advance to the finals, rather than some little country that could, like Ecuador or Trinidad. Even though the teams with stars can do it perfectly well on their own. Obviously.
But just think about how much money is involved.

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